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Squat Help?

Let me start off by saying this used to be my favorite lift, but has slowly started becoming more annoying. Also, I’ve become very weak in this lift and it seems I’m going backwards.

Currrently I’m doing:
Back Squat

135x7 (warm-up)
185x5 (warm-up)
225x5 (warm-up)
275x4
295x3
275x3
225x12

Front Squat

225x3
255x2
265x2
235x (as many as I can)

Some days I’ll vary in heavy leg press over front squat to get more posterior change work and others front squat for quads.

The problem is I’ve tried doing more rep work (best plan is something you haven’t done in a while), but it seems that every time I do that heavy weight just becomes heavier. I’ve tried box squats, but the same problem occurs and I’m not really feeling them.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel like a complete pansy and would like to get into the 300’s and 400’s (and more :slight_smile: ). My bench is still moving up and I reaally don’t want it to pass my legs.

Guess I should also note so that people have numbers to work with
Back Squat: 325
Front Squat: 275
Deadlift: 415

I go ATG and get stuck right at parallel, so not the “hole,” but just above.

Thanks in advance to anyone that helps!

What type of assistance work are u doing. A lot of times adding in some auxiliary exercise will get you through those plateaus on the big lifts.

Also im not a fan of these types of set schemes where you pyramid up and then drop back down in weight:
275x4
295x3
275x3

I would say you’d be better off doing 3 sets at 295 or doing 3 or 4 sets at 275 with a couple more reps each. you got to push your body more.

robo1 has good suggestions. Auxillary work, work at heavier loads.

Doing sled work really helps squats, running up hills, sprints also can help squats.

Vary the types of back squats as well.
Here are few examples:

  1. Pause squats from bottom - rest 2 sec in the hole
  2. Double squats
  3. partial squats (work at different heights, rep schemes, but work it HEAVY)
  4. Do squats in power rack and do them from a resting position (ala Bud Jeffries)

Technique is very important on squat.

Buy some Olympic Lifting Shoes.

[quote]robo1 wrote:
What type of assistance work are u doing. A lot of times adding in some auxiliary exercise will get you through those plateaus on the big lifts.

Also im not a fan of these types of set schemes where you pyramid up and then drop back down in weight:
275x4
295x3
275x3

I would say you’d be better off doing 3 sets at 295 or doing 3 or 4 sets at 275 with a couple more reps each. you got to push your body more.
[/quote]

I’ll try sticking with 275 for a while, I honestly don’t know how many sets of 295 I could bare. I feel like I’m extremely stable and the weight isn’t heavy, but I burn out quick. Like I can easily set-up, breath if needed, but I just don’t have the pushing power after a few reps.

I wasn’t doing much auxiliary work, but more so sticking to basic movements. I thought that was a good thing, but I may not be doing enough. I do the leg press some weeks instead of front squats to go light on my back since it takes a beating from my other days

What kind of assistance work would be good? Lunges?

[quote]usawa wrote:
robo1 has good suggestions. Auxillary work, work at heavier loads.

Doing sled work really helps squats, running up hills, sprints also can help squats.

[/quote]

Will do when I have my own place, but I go to a uni right now and wouldn’t get away with the sleds (but they look awesome). The Running and sprints I’ll have to try. I was squatting easier when I did those.

[quote]usawa wrote:
Vary the types of back squats as well.
Here are few examples:

  1. Pause squats from bottom - rest 2 sec in the hole
  2. Double squats
  3. partial squats (work at different heights, rep schemes, but work it HEAVY)
  4. Do squats in power rack and do them from a resting position (ala Bud Jeffries)

Technique is very important on squat. [/quote]

  1. I’ll have to try, I do these with my front squats, but I’m kinda intimidated of being stuck in the whole with the bar on my back.
  2. Please explain? Like I don’t go up all the way and do two lower-mid end ones? Or similar to Triples (done those).
  3. Should I actually do partials? I remember reading about the “Hole” and filling it in over time thing, but I’ve also read that full range of motion is better. Guess It’s all fuzzy to me.
    4.Again, done these with front squats, yet to try it on my back.

Thanks! I’ll look into this more!

  1. Up your squatting frequency to at least twice a week. You can add a third front squat/safety-bar squat session.

  2. Quit working up to a near max effort every week and get more volume in by doing several sets accross with the same weight.

  3. Strengthen your abs and learn how to power breathe.

  4. Gain weight.

  5. Once a month or thereabouts, work up to a heavy or max single or triple to see where you are. Any more often than this and you’ll regress.

Basically, if you wanna get stronger, you gotta work on becoming stronger. That means working with heavy loads. Try some more triples, for example 8x3.
As for assistance work, try some more posterior chain type stuff: RDL’s, Good Morning’s, Rack Pulls have worked well for me. Do at least two of these exercises every workout, and use squats or front squats as your main movement.
I’ve found that focusing effort on the glutes helps with the hole and just a little above, so you might wanna try that.

[quote]Ramo wrote:

  1. Up your squatting frequency to at least twice a week. You can add a third front squat/safety-bar squat session.
    [/quote]

I do about 3 sessions every two weeks (2-3) days rest. I figure I can up that to 4-5 and I’ll give it a shot.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
2. Quit working up to a near max effort every week and get more volume in by doing several sets across with the same weight.
[/quote]

Figured this would come up and it only makes sense. Problem is, every time I do this I feel like I am regressing (7-10 reps). What should I still work with lower reps, but more volume (5x5)?

[quote]Ramo wrote:
3. Strengthen your abs and learn how to power breathe.
[/quote]
I don’t feel that this is too much of a problem currently. I breathe quite easily on back squats since I work alot with heavy sets on front squats. There is always room for improvement though!

[quote]Ramo wrote:
4. Gain weight.
[/quote]

If all else fails will do! Makes simple sense.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
5. Once a month or thereabouts, work up to a heavy or max single or triple to see where you are. Any more often than this and you’ll regress.[/quote]

Probably what I’m going through. I’ll work in some more volume.

[quote]StonesAreFun wrote:
Basically, if you wanna get stronger, you gotta work on becoming stronger. That means working with heavy loads. Try some more triples, for example 8x3.
As for assistance work, try some more posterior chain type stuff: RDL’s, Good Morning’s, Rack Pulls have worked well for me. Do at least two of these exercises every workout, and use squats or front squats as your main movement.
I’ve found that focusing effort on the glutes helps with the hole and just a little above, so you might wanna try that. [/quote]

Sounds like the exact opposite of the person above, but hey there is no one answer!

Problem is I do a decent amount of Rack Pulls (back days) and Deadlifts (sumo on legs day sometimes), which is why is quite a bit higher than my squat. I will try to work in a bit more glute work during my assistance work.

Thanks!

  1. Start conservative first - a good squat takes time to build
  2. Go up half way and then back down then all the way back up
  3. Partials help you feel the heavier weight. Perhaps you could be suffering from a mental block more than a physical block.
  4. Once again start conservatively.

You can also do explosive squats - like WSB DE day.

Lots of volume with low reps builds great squatting strength. If you want to squat big squat often and squat fresh. Work legs every workout. In fact, just do rack pulls instead of full deadlifts and just do a bunch of squats and squat variations. Monitor intensity and volume closely.

lose the belt on back squats (thanks ironwarrior) initiate some high box squats and actual box squats. Also switch the a pure PL workout non-body building oriented

[quote]usawa wrote:

  1. Start conservative first - a good squat takes time to build
  2. Go up half way and then back down then all the way back up
  3. Partials help you feel the heavier weight. Perhaps you could be suffering from a mental block more than a physical block.
  4. Once again start conservatively.

You can also do explosive squats - like WSB DE day.
[/quote]

That clears all those right up. I’ve done doubles actually like them, I’ll work them in. Also I do agree about the mental block it may be the case, I’ll try some heavy partials just to feel heavier weight.

[quote]usawa wrote:
Lots of volume with low reps builds great squatting strength. If you want to squat big squat often and squat fresh. Work legs every workout. In fact, just do rack pulls instead of full deadlifts and just do a bunch of squats and squat variations. Monitor intensity and volume closely. [/quote]

Got it! So if I incorporate into every workout should I just do like 5x5 or 6x4? I wouldn’t want to go overkill on the sets since I’d be doing them in a few days right?

[quote]Pipes06 wrote:
lose the belt on back squats (thanks ironwarrior) initiate some high box squats and actual box squats. Also switch the a pure PL workout non-body building oriented[/quote]

Don’t use a belt currently except for when I go for max attempts.

I haven’t really had any luck with box squats, but everyone else seems to love em. I guess I may have to give them another go.

UPDATE

Just wanted to update this thread to say thanks for all the advice.

Over the past few months my squat has increased, maybe not dramatically, but it has increased nonetheless

OLD Squat max: 325 (with belt)
NEW Squat max: 365 (with belt)

OLD Front Squat max: 275 (no belt)
NEW Front Squat max: unsure, but squat 275x4 today, no belt

I’ve had some hiccups along the way, such as knee pain (got sleeves) and an abdominal strain from deadlifting. Overall nothing stopped progress just slowed it down.

What I did to improve my squat, in hopes it may help someone:

20 rep squats: self explanatory, used lots of breathing, did only one set, last time I did them I got 275x16.

Box squats: 60-70% max weight (225 for me), fast tempo, close stance, deep stretch

Leg press: one or two all out sets (20-30 reps), if your not all ready throwing up.

I figured I was doing to low volume and upped it, it worked, but now my knees seem to be paying the price. I’ve cut down on the volume and have added some single-leg + core work since 365 goes up easy, but feels really heavy for me.

[quote]Ramo wrote:

  1. Up your squatting frequency to at least twice a week. You can add a third front squat/safety-bar squat session.

  2. Quit working up to a near max effort every week and get more volume in by doing several sets accross with the same weight.

  3. Strengthen your abs and learn how to power breathe.

  4. Gain weight.

  5. Once a month or thereabouts, work up to a heavy or max single or triple to see where you are. Any more often than this and you’ll regress.[/quote]

Agree completley, you don’t not need to max out constantly to lift you max.

The heavy near max approach will work, but when it has for me the weights don’t feel heavy. If they feel heavy I
lift lighter with more volume. When you build a higher tolerance to beating yourself up and are physically and mentally refreshed go hard again.